Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A short story

I love needlecraft always have done, although was not terribly good at it to start with.  We all have different learning capacities; sometimes I am quick as a whistle and learn something ever so quickly another time I am sadly lagging and don't get to grips with things until I have worked out how to do it for myself - I keep persevering time after time until I get things right. (the intelligent way of exploring all the boundaries of the medium in question) I aim high (touch of perfectionist in me) - sometimes though you need to practice practice practice until things actually go right and I give myself a right royal whipping in the process. Its unrealistic to be "perfect" straight off that takes time, patience and practice.  

However, I was made to feel inadequate, not good enough where needlework was concerned by a teacher at school.  I was slow, and my work was good, but I was lagging behind the rest of the class, so the teacher used to take things off me and take it away do it so that I was on the same level as the rest of the class; thing is I didn't learn as a result and thought I could not do things as a result.  I think she meant to be kind, but it had the opposite effect on me completely demoralised me and "belittled" me to my peers.  Lets just say that she did a real good job of putting me off Needlework because  I didn't have the practical skills - I  just couldn't do it.

Scan forward a few years (actually some 25 years ago) we had a new secretary start who did a lot of needlework and used to bring it into the office and work it during her lunch time.  During conversation she asked if I did anything and I said no, I can't do it.  She turned round and said there is no such word as can't there was no such word. in her vocabulary - Certainly not in her dictionary.

Needless to say my friend Margaret encouraged me and put me right when I got stuck and I started to play.  The words I always remember her saying are it doesn't matter if it'snot perfect it's your work and if you make a mistake during the working of it, it all adds to the charm as at the end of the day it is your work. And if this time round you make a mistake, next time you work something it will be all the better for making the mistake on the first piece.  That kind of rung true with me and thanks to her support and patience, I now do an awful lot of craft work.  Some pieces come out really good but I do have off days or a piece of work that hasn't quite worked out as I had hoped, but at the end of the day it is my work.

In a round about way what I am trying to say is that I hope I don't put any of you would be needleworkers off having a go at something or overwhelm you with the amount of projects I have on the go and in the queue.  Needlework is very therapeutic and can give you a sense of achievement as you are putting something of yourself in every stitch and if you are making a blanket or a quilt then eventually it is going to wrap your loved ones up to keep them warm with the extra insulation of love.  But not only that you are producing and creating something  that for me is the magic. Sometimes these gems go on to become family heirlooms or are in themselves heirlooms in the making.  All that matters is that you have a go and enjoy and love what you do.

Sew, play and be creative and most of all don't be afraid to have a go and be proud of what you do actually achieve you may end up surprising yourself in the process, all you have to do is get your head round it and practice practice practice.  You can do it.

There are still lots of crafts that I intend to explore, patchwork being one high on my list of to-do's.  I am very lucky that I am well stocked up with supplies and kits from when I had the wherewithall to buy them, which I don't now.  If you are someone with a practical gift, what better way of helping someone who is a newbie than by being a "craft buddy" and mentoring them when they get stuck; not only is it a way of giving something back, but it also reinforces to yourself what you do actually know which could also end up surprising you.  You could also go one further and if a group of like minded ladies live near each other create a craft or sewing group for an evening once a month.  Something like this would also share the craft base even further.

So be brave and have a go there's no such thing as "I can't do that" - its not my dictionary.

Take care




  1. That's very encouraging!

    Sime can sew, though only to mend things... Hugo's not interested at all!

    Will let you know how I get on!

    Kay x

  2. adults can be so damaging to young minds with just the slip of the tongue. i had a sewing teacher at high school who said i shouldnt bother taking the class again. i finished my denim skirt in 2 lessons, she was really annoyed i didnt wait to have every seam checked etc. well i went on to be a seamstress for 14 years. i was good at it, i was fast at it (didnt make any money out of it lol) I thought she meant i was no good at it. I can...(havent been able) to knit, but recently had a pot at it, made a dishcloth and now im having a go at crochet which i find easier, it is a matter of practise, you are so right.
    have a nice day patty


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